In an interview published last month, actress Jessica Alba admitted to wearing compression socks every time she travels. She tells US Weekly: “I never travel without my circulation socks, Honest Beauty Magic Balm for my face, Honest Organic Healing Balm for my feet, a hydrating face mask and my Turbie Twist. Sexy!”
While Alba has not admitted to having varicose veins, wearing compressions socks or stockings while flying is commonly recommended for individuals with varicose veins because it can help prevent the development of deep vein thrombosis on long flights. So while it’s unclear whether or not the actress suffers from varicose veins, always wearing compression socks on long flights may be a sign that she suffers from venous disorder.
What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where a blood clot forms in a large vein as a result of blood coagulation. DVT is a serious condition because blood clots can dislodge and travel through your blood stream. A dislodged blood clot can cause serious health issues; for example, it can travel to your lungs and block proper blood flow, resulting in pulmonary embolism.
DVT and Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are caused when blood valves fail and are unable to push blood into and out of damaged veins. Instead, the blood pools in the damaged vein, and the vein becomes visible through the skin. While varicose veins that are visible through the skin are generally damaged superficial veins, they may signal a more severe condition in deep, large leg veins.
Varicose Veins and Travel
If you suffer from varicose veins, you may be at risk for developing DVT while flying. Long flights can increase your risk of developing DVT due to the low pressure in the cabin and your likelihood of immobility during the flight.
Wearing compression socks or stockings while traveling can help reduce your risk of developing DVT by aiding proper blood flow. It’s also important to stay hydrated while flying—buy a bottle of water or two after going through airport security and keep them in your carry-on bag to make sure you have something to drink during the flight. If you end up on a flight with turbulence, the pilot may ask the flight attendants to stay seated for long periods of time, and they may not be able to bring you a drink.
The best way to prevent DVT if you suffer from varicose veins is to have your venous disorder treated. A phlebologist can perform an ultrasound of your varicose veins to determine if your venous disorder is superficial or more significant and determine if you’re at risk for DVT. If your doctor discovers you’re at risk for DVT, he/she can perform a number of treatments to eliminate your visible varicose veins and resolve any underlying issues that could put you at risk for DVT.
To learn more about the potential costs of varicose vein treatment, use our cost calculator.